by David Safier
I'm a little late posting about the Star's recent attention to the issue of gun policy in the state and the nation, but it looks like it's time for me to once again praise our Tucson daily after giving it a triple praise on Saturday. No, I'm not going soft. Credit where credit is due.
Sunday, the Star ran an article, "Gun rights vs. gun control" by Brady McCombs and Tim Steller. It's a well researched, balanced article which presents both sides of the issue fairly. I honestly think someone on the fence could read the article and make an informed decision about gun regulation. For me, that's the hallmark of this type of research-based reporting. I won't even attempt to excerpt the article, because it has too many working parts to pull out any one item.
Also on Sunday, the Star ran an editorial on gun control which it said is the first in a series. The editorial made its opinion clear. Listing Columbine, 1999, Virginia Tech, 2007, Fort Hood, 2009, and Tucson, 2011, it concludes,
We believe the need for gun reforms in America is self-evident, and that some reforms are long overdue. The recent bloody evidence is all too plain.
Gun control is a difficult, complex, often-emotional issue. There are no black-and-white answers; some "solutions" may result in unintended consequences and others may infringe too heavily on our freedoms.
But there is a reasonable balance between preserving our freedom and protecting our safety, and we must identify it.
Monday's editorial advocates banning extended gun magazines such as the one Jared Loughner used to fire 30 shots in 30 seconds at Giffords' Congress on Your Corner meeting.
Jared Lee Loughner, who is accused in the killings, bought both a lethal handgun and extended-capacity magazines legally.
That must change. From 1994 until 2004, when a federal ban on military-style assault weapons was allowed to expire, such supersized magazines were outlawed. That ban should be reinstated.
We do not believe the average civilian has a "need" for extended-capacity magazines, not for self-defense and certainly not for offensive reasons.
Today's editorial states unequivocally, we need to ban assault weapons.
This country needs to re-impose a new, effective ban on military-style assault weapons.
In fact, even given myriad defects in the now-expired federal assault-weapons ban, we could do a lot worse than essentially reinstating it as originally written. Flawed though it was, it reduced the flow of such weapons.
Even better, Congress should consider emulating California's assault-weapons ban.
The U.S. essentially outlawed machine guns in 1934. It's time we took similar action against their very lethal descendants.
Appropriately, the Star ran an op ed by Charles Heller, secretary of the Arizona Citizens Defense League, to respond to the editorials. I won't quote from his op ed, but I will mention, he is host of the radio show, "America Armed & Free." Enough said.